We’re two months into 2017 and there’s no better time than now to look at what the future holds for digital marketers. One of the new areas that we’re researching is how voice search will affect the way we traditionally find information on SERPs, or Search Engine Results Pages.

What is Voice Search?

Voice search is what happens when you speak into your personal devices in order to receive information. Most smart phones have personal assistants that you can activate by using your voice. This eases our accessibility to information and as a result, we’re seeing an increase in popularity of voice searches.

Different Ways to Search

The first thing to notice is how our behavior changed when we use voice search. When we use search engines to find information, our search terms tend to be short, but specific. For example, if I wanted to find a hilarious Valentine’s Day joke to tell my sweetheart, I would type ‘Valentine’s Day Jokes’ in the search engine. However, if I were to use one of the new voice search portals like Google Home or Amazon Alexa, our search terms would change considerably. We would use phrases like, ‘Alexa, what’s a good a Valentine’s Day Joke?’

In Market

It’s hard for marketers to know if a consumer is in market for a product or service when they use the traditional, short and specific search term structure that comes with traditional searches. For example, with a traditional search of ‘flowers’, I could be looking to clarify what type of flowers are in my backyard, or I could even only need an image search to find a picture of a rose for my blog.

A way to remedy this problem is the way our search terms change when we use voice search. When I voice search for ‘Where’s the closest flower shop near me?’ marketers get clarification that I’m looking to go and buy flowers. Those extra keywords differentiate that the consumer is in market for flowers, not just looking to find images of them.

What are the next steps

Marketers can help themselves by starting to get prepared for some of the questions they’re likely to receive from clients during the rise of voice search. There should be a focus on long-tailed keywords and to keep testing new ideas.

Incorporate Long Tailed Keywords

If you have a client who sells burgers in town, they’ll want to know how they can be ‘heard’ when a customer is asking their voice search assistant ‘who has the best burgers in town?’ One thing you can do is make some small changes to your website that incorporates long-tailed keyword searches into content on your website that shows people what they’re asking for.

For example, if one of the stand out qualities of your client’s business is they use local grass-fed beef for all their burgers, they could add a question and answer section on the website that includes some of the most commonly asked questions and answers about local grass-fed beef.

Keep Testing

The most important thing to do in my opinion is keep testing how the different ways you ask questions to your voice search assistant elicits different responses. From there, take what you’ve learned (including some of the things that I’ve listed above) and double down on what works. Finally, learn from the data and then eliminate techniques that don’t work.